In a world where you can categorize electronica, dance music, and synthpop into 10 billion different genres, there will always be one name that reigns consistent with the truest of eclectic dance lovers. Chromeo have made a permanent home in speakers and in dancing shoes around the globe, and they are back with new album White Women to prove that they are not to be taken as simple love-struck synth machines.
Chromeo’s story begins in mid-90s Montreal, amid the throes of college trials. David Macklovitch, affectionately known as Dave One, befriended a Lebanese import by the name of Patrick Gemayel a.k.a. P-Thugg. Between a hip hop showcase and a side project invite, the two seemed destined to work together musically. The name Chromeo came together, almost as fast as the hits started pouring from their collaborative efforts. With immensely popular songs like “Needy Girl” and “Bonafide Lovin’”, the path seemed paved with a theme of heartache and reinvention of the love game itself. In fact, Chromeo’s music is so well known, that terms like “Tenderoni” have made their way into our vernacular. If you don’t catch yourself singing “Momma’s Boy” every time you meet a droopy pathetic male, then you are kidding yourself.
What isn’t seen on the surface is that Chromeo have a deeper grasp of how to heal from these seemingly devastating heartbreaks that they have been writing about all this time. Macklovitch and Gemayel have poured themselves into the new album White Women, and have taken quantitative leaps in terms of mastering the meaning behind their music.
“We worked a lot harder this time around. Spent more time on everything. Opened our studio to guests and co-producers. Tried to make our sound more polished, more high-octane. More pop and more ambitious,” Macklovitch says. “This is Chromeo 2.0 to us.”
Although their catchy riffs and funky melodies are airy and light, the message behind their madness is amplified heavily in White Women. “Sexy Socialite” is a jam from the new record, and as frivolous as the track may sound, they are hinting that women shouldn’t be feeling insecure without a man.
Chromeo have had a white-knuckle grip on indie dance music since the early 2000s. From their debut in 2004 with She’s In Control through to worldwide sensation Business Casual, Macklovitch and Gemayel have worked on maintaining the fun while deconstructing the content. It should come as no surprise, that White Women follows suit with these maturing moods.
“We wanted to recall the effusiveness of Fancy Footwork, the sophistication of Business Casual — but improve on them and add a layer of sheen. Also sing better, have more powerful hooks and more meaningful lyrics,” Macklovitch confides. By adding more collaborations to the list, the boys even managed to snag Solange as an extra set of pipes on soulful ballad “Lost On The Way Home”.
Not only are Chromeo the musical masters onstage, but they are also heavily involved with the graphic design, merchandise, visuals, videography, and photography of their group.
“We put tremendous effort into make it all seem effortless,” Macklovitch quips. With an all-encompassing talent at creative output, it’s no wonder that they will continue to hit the studios after their North American tour this Spring. Hoping to follow up with an EP next year, the boys will not be taking the high heels off of their keyboard leg stands anytime soon. Despite all the growing pains, Chromeo still manages to fall in love all over again, and in turn, produce countless albums that are worth our time — unlike those darn Momma’s Boys.
Catch Chromeo at Commodore Ballroom on Tuesday April 15th. BYODS (Bring Your Own Dancing Shoes).
By Kristie Sparksman
Photo: Tim Saccenti